Electrolyte Inbalance

Ok due to my work I have recently discovered that haveing an inbalance can cause strokes and depression.

What effect does it have on athletic performance?

Electrolyte’s are from what I can make out the primary “food” for lactic acid whilst training

Basicaly I guess that supplementing with electroltes wont improve the 100 performance but could help in the 400, also I suppose it would help in reducing cramp onset!

Does that sound about right?

Sort of…

The primary “food” for lactic acid is pyruvic acid (from glucose).

Electrolytes are acids, bases, and salts (such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chlorine, and bicarbonate). Sodium is concentrated in the extracellular fluid between tissue cells and potassium is concentrated in the intracellular fluid within the blood vessels. Balance between these two is essential for muscle coordination, nerve function, and concentration (among other things).

When you train and lactic acid begins to accumulate in the muscles and the blood, the body’s pH drops, metabolic efficiency declines. Electrolytes play a major role in the body’s efforts to buffer excess acidity. Positively charged mineral ions, called cations, improve the processing of the large amounts of hydrogen ions released during exercise metabolism, and thus maintain better pH. When excess negatively charged minerals, or anions, are present, acidity increases and performance suffers. A more positive dietary cation/anion balance (DCAB) can be an important part of the successful control of exercise-induced acidity.

Generally, your diet will have all of your electrolyte needs covered. Unless you’re training in extreme humidity and heat (in that case a salt supplement might be needed), you don’t need to supplement electrolytes - though it couldn’t hurt.

If you want to improve your 400m times, and if lactic acid buildup is your problem, you should look at improving your lactic acid threshold.

A good source for replenishing electrolytes is good old fashion Gatorade. However, make sure you mix half gatorade and half water, especially if you are an adolescent (or younger) to ensure that you won’t suffer excess electrolyte in your system post-exercise.